You are currently browsing the daily archive for July 12, 2011.

I love looking at other people’s photos. I am so often left feeling envious, amazed and enriched.

Envy: not a good thing. It can run the gamut of “I wish I had their equipment” to “I wish I could travel like they can” to “I wish I was more comfortable taking pictures of people”. (As an aside, I initially typed “I wish I was more comfortable shooting people” and that just never sounds right. It would be wonderful if we could come up with another term for taking pictures besides “shooting”).

Amazement: I am constantly fascinated by how other people see things. I have my own eye, and others who have spent time with me on photo-taking days (which, when on sabbatical, can be every second of every day, much to my companion’s irritation) have, in my humble opinion, learned how to see the world a little differently because of it – and have improved their own photography skills in the bargain. As a bonus, I have expanded my own eye from seeing the world through theirs as well. But everyone has a different eye, and there are so many photographers who see things in a way I don’t. Hence, amazement.

Enrichment: a well-taken photo – which can be composed or accidental – can stir unexpected emotions within you. It can make you feel happy, make you laugh. It can make you curious about the subject, the location. It can fire up a train of thought about something dimly associated with the image. It can stir memory. It can generate lust, longing, sorrow, a sense of the bittersweet. It can disturb. It can inspire peace. It can move you to tears.

I think the core of this trio of feelings is amazement; the enrichment and envy are always touched by a peeking sense of being amazed. You can look at someone’s vacation shots and be bored out of your mind, or be fascinated by the way they see the world. Maybe that’s what it is – people who love photography, who love to capture that moment to share with others, see the world with slightly more focus, more passion, more purity and clarity than folks who just snap shots to doument a trip. I’m not judging here, truly. Those snapshots have a perfect purpose. They are just not the same thing as images.

An image is a reflection of what you are seeing. Almost a mirror, but with the glass itself colored by your own vision. That miniscule injection of your own sight and soul. That’s what makes an image special, captivating, amazing. The transmission of the eye of the photographer, slightly conscious and completely selfless.

That’s why I keep looking at other photographers’ works.  And that’s why I keep shooting.

Aspen image taken by Kelsea in Steamboat Springs last weekend.

Photo title: Casual Colors

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